Linux losing netbook ground

The open source operating system is losing netbook market share, but could find its niche in smaller, Internet-enabled appliances, says Ovum.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

Linux is losing ground on the netbook front, but there lies opportunity for it in smaller, dedicated Internet-enabled appliances, said an Ovum analyst.

Laurent Lachal, open source research director at the U.K.-based analyst firm, said in a research note, Linux is not doing as well in terms of market share, compared to when it made its debut on the netbook market.

Lachal said: "After a strong start, Linux netbooks have now been overtaken by Windows netbooks and Linux is lagging increasingly behind in terms of sales."

While the first netbooks came with Linux OSes, manufacturers started finding Windows-based devices more popular, with customers finding they could not get accustomed to the Linux interfaces.

In the Philippines, Asus dropped Linux on all of its Eee PC models in the country because Filipinos were not taking to the Linux OS well.

But Linux could find its market as an OS for smaller, handheld Internet-enabled appliances such as Apple iPod Touch, said Lachal. The iPod Touch is a device similar to the iPhone but without telephony capabilities.

Linux, having had more success and a longer history as a phone OS, may be more suitable for such devices, said Lachal.

He added that Linux-based Android could be better positioned in this segment, with "increasing support" from the developer and ISV (independent software vendor) communities.

Google's recent revenue-sharing announcement for the Android app market is also expected to help raise developer interest in the platform. The increased variety of apps may also make Android more attractive to consumers.

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